Day 11 Position 16:05.91N 41:25.5W Over Half -Way Party!
Thu 5 Dec 2019 17:19
The "upside down" yellow funny sail is doing a great job as the most forward sail flying out from the pad eye just inboard of the anchor roller. The seas are now "Townhouse" size and helming by hand is advisable to help Gwenhyfar safely ski down the exit run to every 5th wave or so. Sitting in the cockpit watching the approaching wave trains and their culmination to the 5th or 7th "big one" is exhilarating. The ski down the leeward face is a demonstration of raw power, the sound track that accompanies this sequence is "Gurgle, gur - gur gurgle... woooosh... WHOOSH!! Gwenhyfar handles these seas like a natural. Her hull form is slim and sweet and her stern rises purposefully as she is met by the massive approaching wave. The moment of climax is when she is suspended 10 meters above the seascape and seems to pause a few seconds before gathering her skirts and racing down the leeward wave face into the trough of all troughs. All the time accelerating to 13 or 14 knots before slowing at the bottom to 7-8 knots. This process is repeated with each wave building to the next new crescent. Again culminating at the 7th wave, and we again have the big one. The Ocean has an endless procession of volunteers to play with our little Gwenhyfar.
Describing this you must think lots of water comes aboard? But no. Our stern hasn't been pooped once, and is entirely dry. The bows receive a light gurgling and spray blows over but on the whole we are dry after the first 10 feet or so. Just as important the motion is sweet and mostly predictable. In the saloon she is comfortable and makes muffled whooshing sounds as the waters sweep down her flanks. She is such a comfortable and well behaved vessel and so light to helm, even in these big chunky following seas.
Tea is served in the cockpit and we discuss the sail plan in relation to the weather forecasts and analysis from ground crew Guernsey. We decide it's too windy to launch the newly repaired lime green heavy spinnaker and instead decide to maintain the services of upside down funny sail on foredeck. (Brave little chap.)
Sundowners at 17.30 hrs is now rearranged as our "Over Half-Way Party! This was hastily rearranged following yesterdays postponement due to weather and work commitments. The VIP's duly arrived at the appointed hour. Party snacks and tapas of manchengo cheese, iberian ham and anchovy olives were arranged on the cockpit table. The log was read out loud by Jan. Peter tapped his glass, called the group to order and made a small speech, recognising the skills of his shipmates and their camaraderie. A presentation of ARC tee-shirts with a chart on the tee-shirt back, "Not to be used for Navigation" was made to celebrate the occasion. Double grog was dispensed to all.
As twilight approached a dinner of roasted Mediterranean vegetable - butternut squash, courgettes, onions with chorizo sausage (or salmon) was served.
Thankfully the winds eased during the first evening watch and the wave train resumed as mere bungalows.
04.00 hrs log reads; "No Martians yet!"
Crystal dawn with clear skies indicated another beautiful day. By midday it was a very hot 26'
Days run 193 miles